Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is emphatically rubbishing all speculation that he agreed to take in some 20,000 Venezuelan refugees as part of the gas deal signed between the two countries last month.
Rowley, in response to texts from the T&T Guardian, said that a rumour such as this had the capacity to “damage the image of the country”.
“There is absolutely no truth whatsoever in this mischief-making lie. No subject even came up or was discussed far less agreed to,” Rowley said.
Rowley and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro signed off on a gas deal last month but since then there has been very little information provided to the public on the specific details deal. During the meeting between the two leaders, local journalists were kept sequestered in a room away from the dignitaries.
The PM said this type of misinformation was not even a rumour but an outright “deliberate falsehood”.
“(It) is aimed at generating resentment and instability in Trinidad and Tobago. I strongly condemn this gross irresponsibility,” Rowley said.
He also aimed his ire at the United National Congress (UNC) for their role in spreading damaging misinformation in the public domain.
“It is time for the UNC Opposition to stop trying to undermine the interest of the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” Rowley said.
“They live here, they make a living here and even if they don’t see a future here, the least they could do is be a little more patriotic to a country that did so much for them and their families.”
Rowley’s words to the Opposition comes even as its leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, added her support to today’s union-led day of rest and reflection.
Persad-Bissessar’s Siparia office is closed today and she has advised that all other UNC offices close in support. She also directed the membership to take the day off.